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India - Overview


Since independence, India has seen a phenomenal growth in installed capacity and electricity generation (mainly thermal, hydel and nuclear).

Total installed capacity is 83,288MW. Some 65 per cent is owned and operated by the State Electricity Boards (SEBs), and 29 per cent by corporations set up by the Central Government. Prominent among these are the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) which uses coal and gas-fired units, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), National Lignite Corporation (NLC) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) which generates both coal based and hydel power. NTPC is the largest among these, owning some two-thirds (17,000 MW) of the total capacity of central undertakings.

Nuclear stations under the Central Government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation account for 2 per cent of installed generating capacity, and four private distributors own the remaining 4 per cent.

The public sector Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) is in charge of interstate transmission.

In spite of the massive growth in generation capacity, severe power shortages persist throughout India. Energy deficiency is approximately 11 per cent and peaking shortage 18 per cent. Capacity addition has fallen far short of consumption growth. The gap between demand and supply has widened over the last five years and is expected to increase in the short term.

Domestic, industrial and irrigation sector consumers utilize over 85 per cent of India's electrical energy. Per capita consumption has grown from 15.6 KwH in 1950 to 314 KwH currently, but this is still much lower than consumption standards prevailing in developed economies.

According to the 15th Electrical Power Survey conducted by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), demand is expected to rise at a rate of 7.5 per cent per annum over the next decade. The energy requirement376.7 billion KwH in 1995-96 is assessed to be 502.3 billion KwH in 1999-2000.

Over the next 10 years, the minimum capacity addition needed is estimated to be over 83,000 MW. At an average cost of US$1 million per MW, the investment called for is US$83 billion. If the investment required in transmission and distribution are taken into account, the total figure rises to US$143 billion. A majority of this amount will have to be funded by the private sector, both domestic and foreign.

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